hey man, i hear you're hurt. let me know if you need any help ok?
innocent and affectionate words with a clear intention to help. instead of gracefully and gratefully accepting the offer, i replied with a curt "thanks but no thanks dude".
why tho! that's the question on your mind isn't it? simple answer: i'm a cranky old man with a disdain (more distrust actually) for modern exhortations of affection. but there's plenty more to dive into here if you're still curious.
talk is cheap
in my experience of life, few people follow thru on what they profess. not due to a lack of ability or even failed attempts but simply for lack of trying. not because there's no intent but most imagine words to be action enough.
i'm not looking at this trait as a character defect because we're conditioned as children to say sorry or thank you without real intention behind the words or actions expressing regret or gratitude ahead of it.
thus these expressions are often just a knee jerk reaction to avoid the consequences of not offering socially appropriate platitudes. so i'll always accept words with a pinch of salt.
action is specific
many are inclined towards action with passion but aren't quite sure of what they can do. and will fumble and fail to execute on intention. what happens then of their promise to help?
this is why it's pertinent to offer help in an area of expertise. not that you can't help otherwise but because your help is easily sustainable when support is needed longer than expected.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
unless your abilities match your intentions, you're more likely to cause harm than help in most situations. if you know your strengths and weaknesses, you can choose whether or not you're in a position to offer help in that unique situation.
don't wait! delegate
when in doubt, delegate. if you're not sure whether you can help it makes sense to pass the baton to a more capable individual or institution. this isn't difficult to fathom for most as we're used to calling the police or an ambulance when in need.
it helps to have a ready reckoner or list of people; family, friends, and colleagues you can delegate specific requests for help to. if it feels transactional and calculative, it's useful to contemplate why - why are we as modern urban humans uncomfortable with a healthy interdependence?
understanding my own abilities helps me build a solid foundational base from which i can help those i care about. outlining my circle of influence and charting my center of agency in relation to it helps me map where my friends and family fit into this big picture.
paucity of patience
sometimes help might be offered at the onset but withdrawn when the situation seems hopeless or resolution is slow. not saying you ought to reject such offerings but it's worth noting if such individuals are repeat offenders.
this inspection of action in others can be a reflection of my own action when i offer help. my innate nature is animated and flighty so i know i'm an unlikely candidate to offer steadfast support over time. yet in recent times, i've embarked on such adventures (if you'd call 'em that) and found myself more than capable of the commitment.
it's still something i contemplate upon at regular intervals. my competency to help must be matched by the intent to do so and cherished by a commitment to see things to fruition.
the big picture
strategic overview is a rare quality in humans unless specifically trained for it. unless specifically trained or preternaturally gifted. the inability to see the big picture can cause one to offer what looks like help at first but could possibly and eventually be harm.
as the one seeking help, ideally i ought to be able to distinguish between what is acutely needed in the moment and what might be needed over time. the end game is always survival. but what makes us more than mere mortals is the ability to live by principles, beyond lust for life.
which means i might be inclined to reject help for my own reasons. and while this might appear like suicide or euthanasia to onlookers, i reserve the right to accept or reject help.
playing the long game
even if the game is not particularly one of life and death (at the moment at atleast) playing the long game demands a forbearance few have. patience is apparently a virtue gifted by time with age. but with agency, i can attain the same whenever i desire. and patience is most needed when nothing is working.
when i desperately need help it's obvious (often to everyone but myself) i'm in no position to dictate how and from whom it is offered. so i remind myself in advance to shut up and accept it gratefully. i'm no stranger to rock bottom and my best designs have only gotten me deeper into the deepest ditch.
playing the long game is easy if you're aware of the cyclical nature of things. how life and death are in a perpetual dance and we're spinning within that forever flywheel. which means learning to give and take help is the simplest way to play. how might i share my experiences in a way that fuels another's desire to play? how might i observe other's explorations to further my own enthusiasm in the game?
there's much to love in this game of life and when i say much, it's everything. every struggle, challenge, loss, hurt, suffering is a part of this infinite game. sometimes i need others help to remind myself of this, to reset to square one and start again. the game goes on. with a little from my friends, so will i.
helping is healing
there's no simple and easier way to heal than to help another. helping others is the real game, and it doesn't matter whether you realize it today or tomorrow. however the sooner your intention is focused outside of yourself towards helping others, the easier it is to outgrow your own problems.
maybe this essay is an attempt to help you help me better. maybe it's a way for me to heal (not sure from what). maybe i love problem-solving; your problems are puzzles for me to play with.
this is one of my favorite frames; looking at problems as puzzles. which makes helping more like a game i'm engaging in. a game that includes you and me in an interactive space where there outcome changes us both. if you want to help, i'd love to know how. tell me more. give me the gory details. don't just throw out platitudes and politeness.
if you're interested in helping, get your skin in the game... roll your sleeves up and jump into the mud with me. problems are just puzzles we haven't yet learnt how to solve. let's tackle these challenges together.
if you want me to help you, ask me explicitly. there's nothing i enjoy more than helping a friend in need. may your call for help be as bright as the bat signal over Gotham's dark night. may i look upon your misfortune as an invitation to play, to solve that problem. may my intentions and actions match while we play together.
Giving is a way of asking; asking is a way of giving.